Russia to toughen adoption rules for U.S. over Harrison acquittal

RIA Novosti

 December 18, 2008 

MOSCOW - Russia will toughen adoption requirements for U.S. nationals following the acquittal of Miles Harrison over the death of his adopted Russian-born son, a senior education and social protection official said on Thursday.

Harrison, 49, was acquitted on Wednesday of the involuntary manslaughter of his 21-month-old son Chase (born Dmitry Yakolev), who died of heatstroke after being left in a vehicle in the hot sun for nine hours in front of his adoptive father's workplace in Virginia.

"We are outraged by the court ruling and believe it to be totally unjust and unacceptable," Alina Levitskaya was quoted by the Education and Science Ministry as saying. "It questions the reliability of the U.S. system of protection of adopted children's rights, and will lead to tougher requirements for U.S. nationals in Russia."

Levitskaya said the ministry would demand that authorities in the United States step up monitoring of children adopted from Russia. She said the education ministry and the Russian Embassy in the United States would seek a guilty verdict for Harrison.

"When a tragedy occurs, even if through an involuntary action, a severe punishment should be inevitable," Levitskaya said.

Explaining the ruling, Fairfax County Judge R. Terence Ney said Harrison's conduct did not meet the legal standard for manslaughter, which requires "negligence so gross, wanton and culpable as to show a callous disregard for human life."

"No prison term is going to cause more pain than that which he has already suffered. The only true atonement here can only take place within his heart and soul," the judge said.

Over the last 10 years in the United States there have been approximately 230 fatal cases of parents locking their children in cars on a hot day.

Three adoption agencies, including that which organized Dmitry Yakolev's adoption but failed to inform Russian authorities of the baby's death, were banned from operating in the country in July.

Several calls for tighter controls on adoptions have been made in Russia in recent years over a series of scandals, notably the killing of a two-year-old girl from Siberia by her adoptive mother in the U.S. The woman, Peggy Sue Hilt, was sentenced to 25 years in prison in May 2006 for beating the child to death.

Around 120,000 Russian children were adopted both in Russia and abroad in 2007, a 6.4% increase on 2006, according to the Science and Education Ministry.

For more on the abused adoptees, see: 



Adoption agency responsibility

Three adoption agencies, including that which organized Dmitry Yakolev's adoption but failed to inform Russian authorities of the baby's death, were banned from operating in the country in July.

When "next-of-kin" is to be notified about the death of an adopted family member, how many think to notify the first-families of adoptees?

I would love to believe all adoption agencies have a moral/legal duty to report a child's death to the first-family, but it seems (from an adoption agency perspective) once a child is out of sight, that child is out of mind.

I can only imagine how "tougher adoption rules" are going to infuriate American PAPs longing to adopt a cute Russian baby.

Tough New Rules for Adoptive U.S. Parents

By Svetlana Osadchuk / The Moscow Times

19 December 2008

The government will toughen regulations for Americans wishing to adopt Russian children after a U.S. court acquitted a Virginia man of felony charges in the death of his newly adopted Russian son earlier this year, officials said Thursday.

A Virginia court on Wednesday acquitted Miles Harrison, 49, of involuntary manslaughter in the death of his 21-month-old son, who died in July after being left for nine hours in a sweltering car.

Russia tightened controls over adoptions a few years ago after several children died at the hands of U.S. parents, and Wednesday's acquittal will lead to a further clampdown, said Alina Levitskaya, head of the Education and Science Ministry's child welfare department.

The verdict "casts doubts" on adopted children's rights in the United States and "will lead to a tightening of requirements for the adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens," Levitskaya said in a statement on the ministry's web site.

The ministry has already prepared an official demand to be sent to the U.S. State Department regarding the adoption of Russian children, Levitskaya said. The statement gave no specifics about possible stricter requirements. Ministry spokesman Alexander Kochnev said by telephone Thursday afternoon that officials were in the process of working out new rules.

Yevgeny Khorishko, spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Washington, said U.S. authorities should appeal the "grievous court ruling acquitting the murderer of an infant Russian citizen," Interfax reported.

State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov said he was "disturbed" by the verdict and that Russia should do everything in its power to make adoption a more attractive option for Russian families. "We need Russian children to stay in Russia," Gryzlov told Interfax.

Gryzlov added that foreigners turn to Russia to adopt as "our children are genetically much healthier and significantly smarter than in other countries."

In 2005, after the well-publicized deaths of several Russian children at the hands of their adoptive parents in the United States, influential Duma deputies called for a moratorium on all foreign adoptions.

The moratorium never happened, but foreign adoption agencies began facing greater bureaucratic hurdles. Two U.S. adoption agencies were barred from operating in Russia in July, shortly after the death of Harrison's adoptive child, Chase.

Harrison, managing director of a real estate consulting firm in Herndon, Virginia, left the boy — whose Russian name was Dmitry Yakovlev — in the back seat of his sport utility vehicle for much of the day as he worked in his office, The Washington Post reported. The temperature in the vehicle rose to about 55 degrees Celsius before a passerby saw the dead child late in the afternoon and alerted the office receptionist.

Child welfare advocates criticized the idea of severe limitations on foreign adoptions, noting that the number of deadly abuse cases was minuscule compared with the number of children adopted by foreign parents.

"A possible official crackdown on foreign adoptions will bring more harm than good," said Boris Altshuler, head of the nongovernmental organization The Right of the Child. "It condemns many children to stay forever at Soviet-era system institutions desperately in need of reform."

A total of 74,500 Russian children were adopted or placed in foster families in the first nine months of 2008, according to the latest available figures from the Education and Science Ministry. During the same period, however, 79,000 new children were placed into state custody.

"The fact that number of children permanently living in institutions remains unchanged over the last several years — about 150,000 — shows that the effectiveness of both state and regional child welfare systems are at the lowest level," said Galina Semya, an expert who has worked on federal programs to assist orphans.

While tightening controls over foreign adoptions, the government should also provide proper awareness campaigns and support to domestic adoptive parents, said Moscow ombudsman Alexei Golovan, a prominent children's rights advocate.

"The state has not given the highest priority to the problem yet," Golovan said. "If it would, Russian orphans would finally find families."

Experts say there are three key points in tackling the problem: public opinion, financial support and legislation.

The government has taken some important steps in boosting financial support for domestic foster families, Vladimir Kabanov, head of the Education and Science Ministry's adoption department, said in a recent interview.

At the same time, adoptive Russian parents receive no financial assistance from the state, and social services typically have nothing more to do with the child after adoption.

Of the 130,500 children placed in families last year, only 9,500 were adopted by Russians. Foreigners, meanwhile, adopted 4,500 Russian children in 2007.

Many Western governments provide financial incentives for adoptive parents, including subsidized medical care for the adopted child.

This is a key point for domestic adoptions in Russia, as a considerable number of Russian orphans are sick or disabled. A Russian parent with a disabled child is left with virtually no government support, said Public Chamber member Sergei Koloskov, head of an NGO that assists children with Down syndrome. Furthermore, it is exceedingly difficult to place such children in schools, he said.

"No wonder so many Russians leave their disabled children in orphanages and so few adopt disabled children," Koloskov said.

Many Russian families are afraid of adopting because parentless children are often viewed as having suffered irreversible psychological damage. The media, which could be key to removing this societal stigma, has done little to promote the interests of the children, said psychologist Lyudmila Petranovskaya, an expert on adoption issues.

"We have few programs and movies with a positive message," Petranovskaya said. "Information today is a commodity to be sold — and it sells more quickly with tragedy and sensationalism."

Public opinion on adoption must be swayed cardinally if any progress is to be achieved, said Golovan, the Moscow ombudsman. The situation could change if the national media were to receive a clear directive from the government to promote adoptions, but no one is lobbying for such measures, he said.

'We even don't have a federal ombudsman for children who could lobby for [abandoned children]," Golovan said.

There is another way to help change things for the better, Golovan said.

"I bet if one of the leaders of United Russia would adopt a child, there would be a wave of adoptions — among state officials at least."


In almost 200 years CPS has

In almost 200 years CPS has yet to get it right yet the public just let this sick perverted thing go on experimenting on children... and making innocent children and families suffer for their obvious stupidity while running this international child trafficking racket... run by the upper-class... who discriminate against the lower.... CPS hurts everyone ...but themselves.. even then......

I wonder how many more children and families will suffer in the next 200 years as they keep trying to "Get it right"
Hopefully with enough legal action we can shut this abusive industry down and lock up those who run it.......

They are criminals... and we their victims, will see they are dealt with as such...

CPS is not the whole problem....

Where there is high-paying demand, (desperate/eager PAP's), there is a growing need to fulfill supply. 

Consider the following article posted by ABC News:

Ellicott City, Md. - The acquittal of a father who left his adopted Russian son in the back of a hot sports utility vehicle has the international adoption world buzzing.
Now, parents waiting to adopt from Russia are concerned how the outcome of the case will affect their lives.
Marty and Karen Shimer adopted their son Nicholas from Russia in February of 2007. They just returned Thursday night from another visit -- hoping this time to adopt a little girl they have already met.

"I already feel a love in my heart for her, just in three days of interacting with her," said Karen Shimer. "It's just an incredible feeling."
The Shimers are worried that Wednesday's acquittal of a Loudoun County  father in the death of his adopted Russian son could threaten their adoption plans.
Outraged Russian officials have issued a statement saying, "We are deeply angered by the verdict... we consider it to be repulsive and unprecedented." They suggested Moscow reconsider its foreign adoption policy.
That has workers at local adoption agencies worried. "I fear that the message to the Russians is that we don't value the children that they're placing in our care -- and that is completely not true," said Janice Goldwater, executive director at the Adoptions Together agency.
Goldwater said the current law mandates rigorous screening of prospective adoptive parents and most adopted children thrive.
In the Shimer's case, they spent about $50,000 and countless hours on Nicholas' adoption. They are keeping their fingers crossed they can do it again.
"Karen and I at this point would be crushed, because we've already gone and met the child we hope to be the next member of our family," Marty Shimer said. "So we'd be devastated."   [From:  "Adoptive Parents Worry After Loudoun Man is Acquitted in Son's Death", ABC  7 News, December 19, 2008, ]

When PAP's are more concerned about their own needs, (having a child),  how is long-term child safety ever going to be a real concern/issue within the child placement industry?

Long term child safety...

Let's look at the whole picture:  long term child safety comes from EVERYONE putting OTHERS first...  Doesn't this sound familiar to ANYONE here?  I know some here don't like to hear the God and Bible stuff; but let's get real and acknowledge
that God does have a clue into child safety.  Putting others first will always be the right thing to do, no matter if you hear
the mantra: put yourself first and then you can take care of the others because you will be a stronger person.  But I say,
put others first and YOU will be taken care of, too.

"I can be changed by what happens to me, I refuse to be reduced by it." M.A.
One Step Up From Bottom

I agree with every word you say, Bizzi...

Your experience with CPS, believe it or not, is my experience with CPS...  No matter whether it is the child or the PAP or
the real parents; CPS is an abusive industry.  They abuse their power.   The power should rest first with the real parents
of these children.  Decisions should be made ONLY with the children in mind.  But we all know how power corrupts and
total power totally corrupts.  If Jesus said, "suffer the little children to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of Heaven,"
then the whole world has gotten it wrong!  It's not just the CPS, it's the whole world who does not see the child and all its
worth to the world. 

"I can be changed by what happens to me, I refuse to be reduced by it." M.A.
One Step Up From Bottom

"No prison term is going to cause more pain than that which he h

In a way, I can see the point here.  But after saying that, and seeing that point, I must say that this should be a GREAT awakening for all involved in the adoption "business."  Something is dreadfully wrong.  I read here and there; I KNOW
of the same thing "here and there."  Honest adoptive parents could tell you more horror stories than you read about
in the news.  But there seems to be an unwritten law that says, all AP's will stick together and NEVER divulge the truth.
Even if it is not YOU, the AP (and I know there are AP's reading here), then, somewhere in time, you KNOW of things
that are just not right among the clan of AP's that stick so close together.  And until this clan is covertly uncovered from
within, the atrocities of adoption will continue to stay hidden, and more adoptions will follow.
We've beat this dead horse before...  it all comes down to power and how it corrupts.
The adoptive parents that I know, would never ever tell an adoption agency of the problems they have in their families.
So how is an agency to offer help and support for something they know nothing of?  BECAUSE the agencies I KNOW of
are run by people who are AP's themselves.  And so the corruption and lies are told to each other all the way up and
down the chain of power.  EVEN the real parents are not about to tell the problems they KNOW their own children have!
And then the foster parents in the "giving" country will NEVER tell the truth of what they see and know, because, "I was
afraid he wouldn't get a home."  Notice the quotes?  These are real words stated by a real foster mother in Korea who
held the truth from the agency and ME until it was just too late.  And then you have the BLIND AP's who believe that love
will conquer all!  HA!  TRUTH and EDUCATION of the reality of adoption is the only thing that will "help" but it sure won't
conquer all.  To have your life controlled by another does not make your life better!  Living through what is rightfully yours
will make your life right!

"I can be changed by what happens to me, I refuse to be reduced by it." M.A.
One Step Up From Bottom

The cloak of secrecy

But there seems to be an unwritten law that says, all AP's will stick together and NEVER divulge the truth. Even if it is not YOU, the AP (and I know there are AP's reading here), then, somewhere in time, you KNOW of things that are just not right among the clan of AP's that stick so close together. 

I was just reading one of the abuse cases recently listed, and I'd like to share the part that really sickened me about the story behind Anna T Rufo:

Anna T. Rufo was charged with assaulting her adopted 13-year-old daughter, said Yamhill County Sheriff Jack Crabtree. Rufo was lodged in the Yamhill County Jail.

The girl, whose name wasn’t released, was treated for injuries to her arms and legs. She did not have any broken bones. Detectives believe the teen was adopted from China as a baby.

“This case is particularly unfortunate because the suspect is a licensed practical nurse, who should know that help is available to distressed parents and their children,” Crabtree said.   [From:  "McMinnville nurse accused of beating adopted daughter with bat",, May 18, 2005, ]

I suppose the average reader should be shocked that a LPN would not seek help from Children Services -- and yet, given all that we know about CPS, who in their right mind would call them for "family assistance"?  For those who know how the industry works, targets and quotas and closed family courts are what keep parents from keeping their children and getting the help they need as a family.

Yes, this is what really ticks me off about adoption advocates -- adoption does NOT make Child Protective Services any better.  If anything, adoption makes it possible to make money from misery, and for the life of me, I don't see how that can be seen as a service any one of us wants to keep.

Pound Pup Legacy